Sunday, July 16, 2017

The Understanding

“Just accept that you’re a girl!” Luina yelled down at Arien who sat on neir knees, shaking. “You can cut your hair all you want and bind your chest or whatever the fuck you do all you want, but you’ll never escape the fact you’re a girl. Just accept reality already!”
     Luina’s jaws tightened and the top of huir nose scrunched. Huir eyes were two daggers jabbing down into Arien’s hunched and trembling back. 
     “You can say you’re a boy all you want, but in the end, people are going to see you as a girl, and they will always treat you like a girl. Millions of girls all over the world suffer because of sexism and violence—you don’t see them trying to become fake boys in order for people to treat them differently because that’s just some stupid privileged first-world bullshit. Instead, they own up to what they are because that’s how they can help end this sexist epidemic. So no matter what you do, no matter what you want people to call you, they’ll see you just the same as the rest. Stop trying to play fantasy and pretend you can be something you’re not! Idiot!”
     Luina looked as though zei might kick Arien but instead remained in the same position, towering over nem. However, she began to tremble. Huir eyes harbored frustration, anger, and something else. 
     Arien remained silent, tears welling at the bottoms of huir eyes. Zi could feel neir eyes cutting deeply. Zi could not bring enself to move, let alone face nem.
     As Liuna began to turn away huffily, Arien’s soft voice emerged from the stormy silence.
     “I know…”
     Luina paused. Turned back slowly to face Arien. She saw that neir trembling had softened slightly, however, something about it was more intimidating. 
     “I know…”
     Luina looked as though zei were about to say something, however, as against huir will as it was, zei remained silent and listened as Arien continued. 
     “You think I don’t know what people see me as? You think I don’t know what my own damn flesh prison is? You’re wrong.”
     Arien turned huir head abruptly to face Luina, huir eyes wide and huir teeth clenched. Huir voice increased in volume.
     “I’m not what I am because I want to escape from sexism. I am what I am because it’s how I feel! And if people refuse to address, let alone see me as what I am just because it’s how I feel, then fine! There are people who will accept me, and I will stick to that for now because it’s what I have. But never, never would I become a boy just to escape reality and sexism, not when even girls on my own street have been abused for their bodies! Maybe it is a privileged first-world epidemic, but as long as sexism keeps going in our first-world society, I’m not going to run away from that reality!”
     Arien lifted a hand and formed it into a fist, then brought it down heavily to the floor. The sound of a thump preceded huir next words. “If you don’t want to see or address me as I am, as a trans boy, then fine! I guess it’s too much like asking you to fight my battles for me. But I still won’t give up who I am. I will be happy with whoever can accept me for me!”
     Zi stood up on trembling legs. Shot one last fierce look to Luina, then turned away and sped off into the next room.
     Luina stood, looking as though zei might yell out something else, but remained frozen. Huir eyes widened and huir hands began to tremble.
Later on, as night fell, Arien sat on the back porch facing a small garden adorned with soft yellow lights that seemed to float among the plants. The stars showed clearly in the black-dark blue sky. The crickets sang calmly in the slowly fading heat of the day. Zi had huir knees pinned up tightly against huir chest and huir arms wrapped tightly around huir legs to keep them up. Huir eyelids were lowered and yet huir expression looked uncomfortable—unresolved. 
     Luina stood inside the yellow-lit living room, looking out through the windows of the sliding doors that led to the back porch. She watched Arien for a moment contemplatively—a little bit hesitantly as zei caught huir lip between huir teeth. She leaned forward and back. After a while, she began to walk. Opened the sliding doors. Approached Arien. 
     She sat down next to nem. 
     “Hey,” she said.
     The two of them were silent for several heartbeats, looking away from each other, words hanging at the tips of their tongues. After that time passed, they both spoke abruptly and in discorded unison. 
     “You know, I’m sorry,”
     “Hey, I’m sorry.”
     The two of them looked at each other, a bit baffled.
     “Ah…” Arien continued. “Please let me go first.”
     “No, let me,” Luina said sternly. She grabbed the edge of the porch and tightened huir hand around it. Averted huir eyes down. “I’m sorry for yelling at you earlier. It’s just…I was unwilling to accept you as a trans guy. I guess cognitive dissonance or whatever, since, you know, we were sisters for so many years. But I want to accept you for who you are, so I’m sorry about before. I just snapped, and it hurt you.” She looked away and down at the stone walkway.
     Arien continued to look at nem, a somewhat relieved expression surfacing. Then zi looked away. Took a long, drawn out, shaking breath. “I’m sorry, too. I understand where you’re coming from, and I’ve considered giving up my identity plenty of times for the sake of the many that suffer because of their bodies. I’m sorry if I hurt you…You don’t deserve to be hurt because of people who refuse to see the reality that hurts female people. I know that reality is there, and I don’t want to be a part of the problem. So I'm sorry.” 
     Zi looked back at Luina. Saw that nei was trembling. Zi lifted a hand towards nem and gaped slightly. “Luina…”
     Luina began to speak with a soft, trembling voice, all of its previous hardness washing away. “I—I guess I just got so mad because…Especially because you aren’t taking hormones and surgery, and sometimes I get so mad when trans people call themselves trans when they aren’t doing those things because it makes me think they’re just trying to escape and make things harder for everyone else…And I know that’s a heartless thing for me to say because trans people shouldn’t have to put their bodies through so much, but sometimes it just hurts me.”
     “I understand,” Arien said quietly. “But you understand my situation. Why I don’t do that stuff…”
     Luina nodded. “Yes.” 
     She remained silent and contemplative for a moment.
     When she spoke again, huir eyes began to glaze over as tears welled. “It’s just…” Before she could stop the tears, they began to overflow. Huir chin began to quiver.
     Arien lightly placed a reassuring hand on neir shoulder. 
     As soon as it landed there, Luina began to sob.
     “I—I never told anyone this.” She struggled as the words fought to get out of huir throat. “It’s just because they raped me…s—so many times…because of this body, it…hurts. They’ve…”
     Arien’s eyes widened. The shock of the words pulsed through huir chest and then throughout the rest of huir body. Zi suddenly pulled Luina roughly to huir chest and nei began to sob even harder as nei reciprocated the embrace, grabbing onto huir brother’s plaid blue shirt. 
     They stayed like this for a while as Luina buried huir sobs into nem. Stayed like this until they slowly diminished.
     “I’m so sorry,” Arien said, to the point of tears. “I’m so sorry they did this to you. I didn’t know…”
     Luina released nem and shook huir head. Wiped away the tears that smudged huir makeup. Let out a jagged breath. “No, I’m fine. It’s all over now.”
     Arien looked at huir sister sternly. Grabbed both neir shoulders. Luina looked shocked back at nem. 
     “It’s not fine,” Arien said to the point of yelling. “I know it’s not, otherwise why would you be crying over it now? No matter what, I will be here for you to talk to, even if I may not be your sister now…I want to be there for you no matter what. Even if you have to see me as your sister for now…I can wait. Because I want nothing but happiness for you.” The tears in Arien’s eyes began to spill over. 
     Luina let a small smile show through, yet it prompted even more tears. She leaned into Arien’s shoulder and sobbed more.
     “Thank you…” she said with a cracking voice between sobs. “You’ve always been there for me. Thank you.”
     It took some time, but Luina’s sobs slowly diminished into shattered breaths. However, she kept huir head on Arien’s shoulder.
     The cricket voices took over the forefront of the soundscape as the night became darker, the stars became brighter, and the two of them sat side by side on the porch. The yellow light from the living room beamed out, casting their shadows on the gravel ground.
     Luina began to speak in a more stable manner, quietly as if not to break this delicate moment.  
     “If anything,” she started. She lifted huir head slowly from Arien's shoulder and looked nem in the eyes. Smiled genuinely. “If anything, I want to try my best to call you my brother for now, if that’s fine. It will be difficult, but I still want to try for you.”
     Arien turned huir head to face huir sister. Nodded. Smiled brightly in return. “Of course.”   

(Note: I tried my best to write this as true as possible, however, this doesn't represent all trans people's experiences.)

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